Bank identification number (BIN code)

What the BIN on a credit or debit card means.

What is a bank identification number?

The BIN (short for bank identification number) consists of the first six digits of a credit card number. It indicates the bank that has issued the card. It is also commonly referred to as the “issuer identification number” (IIN), since banks aren’t the only institutions that issue credit cards.

  • Is uniquely defined for each issuer.
  • Also identifies the issuer’s industry.
  • Is relevant for credit and debit cards.

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What is the purpose of the BIN?

The BIN plays an important role when making online payments with a payment card. This code identifies the card’s issuer, which receives requests for payment authorization. The purpose of this is to validate the card and check whether the account contains sufficient funds. Both authorization and subsequent release on the basis of the BIN take place very quickly in the background during the ordering process.

For bank transfers and direct debits, other numbers are normally used for identification purposes; they include the SWIFT/BIC code and IBAN.

Bank Identification Number

Where is the BIN code?

The BIN comprises the first six digits of the (typically) 16-digit credit card number, which is usually embossed on the front of the card. The first one or two digits stand for the credit card company, the next two or three for the card provider, and the last two for the card type (e.g. gold or standard, and main or secondary card). Debit cards usually have the number on the back, or it can be queried from the issuer.

The role of the BIN in transactions

Identification

The BIN identifies the card’s issuer and provides other card details.

Authorization

The BIN indicates the institution that issued the card and other details.

Fraud prevention

IP/BIN and other checks reduce the risk of fraud.

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